Saturday, November 25, 2017

Retired bishop of Caledonia leaves Anglican Church of Canada for breakaway group

From Canada-

William Anderson, who retired as bishop of Caledonia at the end of 2016, has confirmed that he recently left the Anglican Church of Canada to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), a breakaway grouping of theologically conservative churches.

“Last week, I transferred,” Anderson said Wednesday, November 22, adding that he had had “ongoing concerns for a long time about the direction things have been going in the Anglican Church of Canada,” but that the overturning of the Rev. Jacob Worley’s election as bishop last May, followed by his firing this November, together served as “the final straw.”

Worley, who until his termination was serving as rector of the Parish of Bulkley Valley, was elected bishop last April. But the House of Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon refused to consecrate him, citing work he had performed for the province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church (TEC).

More here-

Former Anglican priest says sexual relationship with parishioner was consensual

From Canada-

A former Anglican priest in western Manitoba admits he had a sexual relationship with a parishioner for years, but Nigel Packwood says it was consensual and denies sexually assaulting the woman.

The woman sued Packwood in September, and in his statement of defence filed in court last month, he says the woman "was a willing adult participant to the sexual conduct between them, and in many instances was the initiator of such sexual conduct."

Packwood resigned from his position with the church in August 2016 after the woman made a complaint about him to the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Brandon.

More here-

Virginia youth pastor held in Thanksgiving slaying of family members

From Virginia-

A Virginia youth pastor has been arrested in the shooting deaths of his wife, stepdaughter and the stepdaughter’s boyfriend in their home on Thanksgiving Day, police said.

Christopher Gattis, 58, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Police arriving at the family's Chester, Va., home around 11:30 p.m. found the women’s bodies inside and the man’s body in the front yard, officials said.  

More here-

Are we destroying our churches by how we treat the very young?

From Christian Today-

After an extremely troubled early childhood in Jamaica and Barbados, where my father had been working for one of the larger Anglican missionary societies, our large family fled back to my grandmother's house in Pulborough, Sussex. It was a large, glorious, rambling, Victorian neo-Gothic affair called The Elms, complete with orchard and croquet lawn, which naturally was pulled down without a second thought when she and the trees died at about the same time, although from different causes. A block of modern flats stands there now.

Living in Pulborough was a joyful experience, due to my grandmother, Sybil Rathbone, and her companion, Evelyn. It was a blissful interregnum in a childhood with extremes of poverty and distress – the consequences of mental illness and the repeated electroconvulsive therapy inflicted on my father in Barbados. (This is a subject that I will certainly return to in future now that, at 57, I am finally reaching a stage in life when it is possible to talk, think and write about it without simply passing out with the shock of the memory.) 

More here-

Friday, November 24, 2017

Diocese of South Carolina petitions U.S. Supreme Court, files new lawsuit

From South Carolina-

The Diocese of South Carolina, which left The Episcopal Church in 2012 after years of theological conflict and governing disputes, announced Nov. 21 that it would petition the U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes of reversing a S.C. Supreme Court ruling that would force the diocese to return properties worth millions of dollars.

The state Supreme Court recently denied the diocese's motion for a rehearing of the contentious case. Over the years, the nation's highest court has refused to consider other cases involving Episcopal Church disputes. Most of these cases involving dissident "orthodox Anglicans" have been decided in favor of The Episcopal Church.

Also on Nov. 21, the disassociated diocese filed a new lawsuit in Circuit Court — the same venue that heard the diocese's original suit and ruled in its favor — seeking compensation for building improvements made to many parishes over the years.

More here-

Churchgoers renew calls to carry after Texas shooting

From The Washington Times-

Nathan Price says his concealed gun doesn’t make him feel safer in church.

The gun does make him feel more prepared should something happen.

“I’m a big believer that violence can happen anywhere at anytime,” said Price, a former Marine and firearms trainer. “If you’re not carrying a firearm, you’re not going to be able to engage anyone causing harm around you.”

The Wichita Eagle reports that Price is one of an unknown number of Kansans who carry a gun in church. After a man fatally shot 26 people in Sutherland Springs’ First Baptist Church earlier this month, some pastors and congregants across the nation have renewed calls to carry.

For some, carrying a gun in church is a way to prepare and protect in uncertain times. For others, it’s antithetical to the very purpose or church.

More here-

Archbishop Welby and Patriach Kirill agree to focus on shared interests

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, signing an appeal in Moscow to world leaders, have called for effective measures to defeat terrorism and help Christians who are suffering persecution in the Middle East.

Archbishop Welby — who was making his first-ever visit to Russia — and Patriarch Kirill denounced what they called the mass killings of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, the desecration of holy sites, and the expulsion of millions of people from their homes.

“Our hearts are pained by the mass exodus of the Christian population from those places where the Good News began to be spread throughout the Christian world,” they said. The war had taken away tens of thousands of lives and left millions of people homeless. They called for “speedy help” from the international community to support Christian and other populations in the Middle East, and said that widescale humanitarian assistance was needed for the vast number of refugees, especially those in Europe and the United States.

More here-

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Protestants and Catholics Meet, on the Cricket Pitch

From The New York Times-

Ancient Rome is credited with turning sport from athletic ritual into spectacle. From bloody gladiatorial battles in the Colosseum, to the Derby della Capitale between the soccer archrivals Lazio and A.S. Roma, the city’s stadia have seen every emotion.

It was fitting, then, that this year Rome hosted a cricket match between the Anglican and Catholic churches. Unlike the ancient blood sports, this match fostered unity.

It might not look like much, but the match played on Rome’s only cricket pitch was more significant than it appeared.

“Playing together builds up its own bond, perhaps more of a bond than at a theological level, where set groups start off from very clear postures and are trying to work together,” said Father Eamon, the manager of the Vatican team.

2017 was the tournament’s fourth year, and the second time it has been held in Rome. Three teams competed in 2016: the two Christian teams and a Muslim team from Birmingham, England.

More here-

Fewer churches holding Thanksgiving Day services

From Capital Journal (South Dakota)-

Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church is trying something new this year at Thanksgiving: not having a divine worship service on Thanksgiving Day. Rather it’s holding one the night before.

“We normally have Thanksgiving Day services but the numbers have been dropping in recent years,” said the Rev. Cory Rajek on Wednesday. “So we thought we would try out having a Thanksgiving Eve service. We do have a chili supper tonight right before the service.”

That seems to be a kind of a trend among many American churches: away from holding worship services on the fourth Thursday in November set aside as a national observance of giving thanks to God.

More here-

Bishops’ Thanksgiving Message: We are grateful for the gifts of immigrants and refugees

From America Magazine-

As the nation made preparations to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed gratitude for "the gift of immigrants and refugees to the country," but also appealed for their protection.

"As we do every year, we will pause this coming Thursday to thank God for the many blessings we enjoy in the United States," Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said in a statement Nov. 20, a week after the U.S. bishops opened their annual fall assembly.

The longest and most passionate discussion on the first day of the fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 13 focused on immigrants, on how to help them but also how to drive home the point that they, too, are our brothers and sisters and should not be demonized.

Cardinal DiNardo said his Thanksgiving Day statement was prompted by the bishops urging he "speak out on their behalf."

More here-

How the Mayflower compact sowed the seeds of American democracy

From The Boston Globe-

Driven far off course by gales and rough seas as they crossed the Atlantic in the fall of 1620, the Mayflower’s 102 passengers made landfall at a spot much farther north than they had planned. They anchored at the tip of Cape Cod in what is now Provincetown, hundreds of miles from the Virginia territory they’d been aiming for — and well beyond the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company of London, which had issued the patent authorizing them to build a settlement. It was a setback, but not enough to weaken the resolve of the ship’s Protestant Separatists, who had come to America to create a community true to their religious beliefs and would stick together no matter what.

A majority of the Mayflower’s passengers, however, were non-Separatist “Strangers,” some of whom now insisted they were no longer bound by the original plan. William Bradford, who would become the foremost Pilgrim leader, wrote that several Strangers began to make “discontented and mutinous speeches,” announcing that when the ship anchored they would go their own way. The Virginia patent was now void, they said, and “none had power to command them.”

More here-

Pope Francis Canonizes Single Turkey In Annual Vatican Tradition

A little humor to begin the day-

Declaring the 10-pound bird worthy of the church’s veneration to a crowd of thousands in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis celebrated a hallowed tradition on Thursday by canonizing a turkey from a local farm, a Thanksgiving ritual dating back more than three centuries to the pontificate of Innocent XII. “Dear brothers and sisters, it is my deepest joy today to present the life and witness of this humble bird to the Church and welcome him to cluck and cackle among the saints in God’s Kingdom of Heaven,” Pope Francis recited in accordance with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, invoking the name of God three times before inscribing the newly beatified bird, named St. Gobbler, in the catalogue of saints. 

More here-

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

London welcomes first purpose-built Anglican church in 40 years

From Premier-

The first new purpose-built Anglican church to open in London for 40 years has been unveiled during a ceremony attended by local residents and the Bishop of Edmonton.

The official launch of St Francis at the Engine Room on the new Hale Village housing development in Tottenham Hale was also attended by local MP David Lammy.

Priest Missioner at the church, Fr Andrew Williams said: "After four years working from our temporary space it is wonderful to move into our permanent home, a community centre and church from which to base our work in the wider community of Tottenham Hale."

The congregation, which has grown to 500 weekly attendees since the church was founded in 2013, had been meeting at the old Engine Room community centre in Hale Village.

More here-

Bishop Search on Hold Due to Plagerism.

From Newark-

The Diocese of Newark is revising the diocesan profile it published to guide the search for its next bishop after discovering that a section of the profile was plagiarized from the profile of the Diocese of Bethlehem.

The Rev. Joseph Harmon, interim vice president of the diocesan Standing Committee, announced today that the search process is paused until January 2, 2018 at which time the application process, which had closed on November 17, will be reopened until January 10 to accommodate candidates who might wish to apply based on the revised profile.

This delay in the search process will not necessitate a change in dates for the episcopal election on May 19, or the consecration of the eleventh bishop of Newark on September 22, Harmon said.

Bishop Mark Beckwith, who has led the diocese since 2007, called for the election of a successor when he announced in February that he planned to retire.

More here-

Episcopal delegation to COP23 encouraged by talk of taking action on climate change

From ENS-

 Episcopalians have returned home after spending two weeks in Bonn, Germany, representing Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and contributing voices of faith in support of environmental stewardship during the U.N. climate change summit held there.

The Nov. 6-17 conference, officially known as the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP23, was an annual intergovernmental meeting to focus on global dialogue and action. The Episcopal Church, granted observer status, sent about a dozen Episcopalians to continue the church’s advocacy that began at the previous two conferences.

“The Episcopal Church, through the presiding bishop’s delegation, is taking a very strong presence in the life of these climate summits,” Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus told Episcopal News Service after returning from COP23. “We’re making strong networks in the faith communities.”

More here-


A little outside our usual posts (and I don't get a commission) but interesting-

See the birth of Jesus reimagined in the age of iPhones and man buns.

What's in the box:

Mary and Joseph taking a selfie with Baby Jesus

Three Wise Men on Segways carrying Amazon Prime boxes

100% Organic cow eating Gluten-free feed

Shepherd Snapchatting the Nativity

Sheep in Christmas sweater

Solar-powered stable

Human figurines stand 7" tall (slightly taller than a pint glass)

Each set is hand-crafted and hand-painted by a real life hipster.

More here-

Will Pope Francis remove the Vatican’s ‘warning’ from Teilhard de Chardin’s writings?

From American Magazine-

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the widely influential Jesuit paleontologist and philosopher whose writings were cited with a “warning” by the Vatican in 1962, may finally have that blot removed from his record.

Participants at the recent plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture that discussed “The future of humanity: new challenges to anthropology” unanimously approved a petition to be sent to Pope Francis requesting him to waive the “monitum” issued by the Holy Office in 1962 regarding the writings of Father de Chardin.

The participants, which included top level scientists as well as cardinals and bishops from Europe, Asia, America and Africa, applauded when the text of the petition was read.

More here-

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

S.C. Supreme Court denies Anglican rehearing

From South Carolina-

The state Supreme Court denied a request from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina to rehear the case in which the court previously ruled that the breakaway group must return church property to The Episcopal Church.

The court voted 2-2 on the rehearing motion (.pdf). A majority would have been required to grant the rehearing, and Justice Kaye Hearn did not vote.

The denial keeps in place the August ruling, which said that 29 breakaway parishes, including St. Philip’s Church on Church Street and St. Michael’s Church on Broad Street, must return property.

More here-

New N.T. Wright Biography on Paul

From Patheos-

Coming out in Feb 2018, N.T. Wright’s biography on Paul, a readable narrative of Paul’s life and thought.

In this definitive biography, renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N. T. Wright offers a radical look at the apostle Paul, illuminating the humanity and remarkable achievements of this intellectual who invented Christian theology—transforming a faith and changing the world.

For centuries, Paul, the apostle who “saw the light on the Road to Damascus” and made a miraculous conversion from zealous Pharisee persecutor to devoted follower of Christ, has been one of the church’s most widely cited saints. While his influence on Christianity has been profound, N. T. Wright argues that Bible scholars and pastors have focused so much attention on Paul’s letters and theology that they have too often overlooked the essence of the man’s life and the extreme unlikelihood of what he achieved.


Pauli Murray's 'Song of Hope'

From Philadelphia-

Hope is a song in a weary throat.

Give me a song of hope

And a world where I can sing it.

Give me a song of faith

And a people to believe in it.

Give me a song of kindliness

And a country where I can live it.

Give me a song of hope and love

And a brown girl’s heart

to hear it.

This verse is from the poem “Dark Testament” by the Rev. Dr. Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray, a writer, scholar, Episcopal priest and civil rights warrior who spent her extraordinary life challenging barriers and systems of discrimination in all forms. I recently had the joy of being the first overnight guest at the new Pauli Murray College at Yale University after the dedication of the new residential college named in her honor. She would be so pleased!

More here-

Repent And Believe In The Gospel! Over 300 Christian Theologians Challenge The Corruption Of U.S. Christianity

From Huffington-

The Boston Declaration, condemning the abuse of the Christian faith by many conservatives today, was just written, signed and released by over 300 hundred Christian theologians attending the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, an annual meeting of nearly 10,000 professionals in religion.

In a dramatic press conference at Boston’s famous Old South Church, where many dressed in sackcloth and ashes to call for repentance and change in Christianity in the United States, the presenters were clear that white American Evangelicalism is in a crisis, a crisis of its own making. It has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Is Roy Moore a hill on which Evangelicals are prepared to die? As for me and my house, ‘Hell no, we won’t go,’” said Evangelical theologian Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology at New York Theological Seminary, asking the crisis question and answering it. “During difficult days in our nation, The Boston Declaration calls Christians to follow the Jesus Way, bearing prophetic witness to Christ through fight racism, sexism, poverty and all forms of oppression.”

More here-

Refugees missing from European media reports on migration crisis

From ACNS-

A detailed study by an ecumenical group accuses European media of maintaining a “pattern of invisibility” for refugees and migrants. The 12-month study, Changing the Narrative: Media Representation of Refugees and Migrants in Europe, by the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the World Association for Christian Communication – Europe region (WACC Europe), found that individual references to a refugee or migrant only appear in one fifth of news items on asylum and migration. “This points to a pattern of invisibility that creates a clear divide between the policies being discussed at the political level and the effects of those policies on people,” the report says.

The research involved media monitoring in seven European countries: Greece, Italy, Spain, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. It said that, of the 21 per cent of the news items that reference migrants or refugees, less than half (40 per cent) of the articles quoted them directly.

More here-

Monday, November 20, 2017

S Carolina's highest court declines to rehear church case

From Miami (AP)-

South Carolina's highest court has declined to rehear a case involving The Episcopal Church and parishes that left the church five years ago over theological issues, including the ordination of gay priests.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the decision puts an end to litigation at the state level between the church and the conservative Diocese of South Carolina, which had sued to retain ownership of physical and intellectual property.

The diocese said in a news release late Saturday the motion for rehearing was denied. In August, the S.C. Supreme Court issued decisions that returned most church property to The Episcopal Church.

Read more here:

Bishop Adams (South Carolina) responds to court rulings

From The Cafe-

The State Supreme Court of South Carolina has denied a petition from the breakaway diocese there to rehear the property case they lost as well as a second motion to force the recusal of a judge they deemed unfriendly to their cause.  You can catch up on that story here.

Today, the bishop serving the Episcopal church’s diocese (called the Episcopal Church in South Carolina as ownership of the name and seal are still to be decided in federal court), the Rt. Rev. Skip Adams issued a statement giving thanks to the court and offering reconciliation.  (printed in full below)

The Episcopal Church offered to settle the cases in a manner that would allow most of the affected parishes to hold ownership of the disputed parish properties, but that offer was summarily rejected by the breakaway diocese in their drive to maintain the properties, the diocesan funds and properties, as well as the name “the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.”

More here-

Medieval-style Bible is a marvel at Garden City’s Episcopal cathedral

From Long Island-

The Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City has a copy of a most special Bible in its keeping — one that took 15 years to make, measures 2 feet by 3 feet, and was produced in the way that Catholic monks made Bibles in medieval times, drawn painstakingly by hand.

One volume of the illuminated Bible is on loan for a year from the Benedictine monks at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, who came up with the idea of creating the first medieval-style Bible of this size in 500 years, since the invention of the printing press.

“There’s a lot of excitement” over the copy of The Saint John’s Bible, which arrived at the cathedral on Nov. 1, All Saints Day, said the Very Rev. Michael Sniffen, dean of the cathedral, which is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. “When people hear the story and the amount of work that it took to create a Bible, they’re just blown away.”

More here-

What Christian Artifacts of the Middle East Can Show Us About Tolerance

From The New York Times-

Behind the famous dilating windows Jean Nouvel designed for its Seine-side home, the Institut du Monde Arabe has presented a string of recent shows that have deepened and diversified France’s understanding of Islam. From “The Thousand and One Nights” (2012) to “Hajj: The Pilgrimage to Mecca” (2014) and the epic “Ocean Explorers” (2016), exhibitions here have disclosed the breadth of Islamic culture and history, and their intimate, centuries-long links with the West.

 nBut Islam is not the only religion in the Arab world, and this autumn the institute, which celebrates its 30th birthday this month, has turned its attention to another faith. “Eastern Christians: 2,000 Years of History,” a vital, thorough, and sometimes astonishingly gorgeous exhibition, explores the birth and transmission of Christianity from Jesus’ death to the present day.

More here-

Christian Support for Roy Moore ‘Looks Like Hypocrisy to the Outside World’

From Atlantic-

Before this month, Roy Moore was best known nationally for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama state supreme-court building. Now, the aspiring senator is accused of hitting on teens at an Alabama mall and inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl.

These allegations may be the end of Moore. Congressional Republicans have started disowning him, and he’s tentatively dropping in state polls. But it’s possible that the reputation of evangelical Christians will also suffer. Despite condemnations from a number of nationally prominent Christian leaders and a few in Alabama, many of the state’s faithful continue to back the controversial candidate.

To outsiders, the support might seem like a stark contradiction in values. Even to insiders, it can seem that way. “I’m … bothered,” wrote William S. Brewbaker III, a law professor at the University of Alabama, in The New York Times, “by what Mr. Moore’s popularity says about the sorry state of evangelical Christianity.”

More here-

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Diocese of South Carolina Denied Rehearing by South Carolina Supreme Court

From South Carolina-

Today the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) was informed by mail that the South Carolina Supreme Court denied its motions filed for Rehearing and Recusal in its ruling in Appellate Case No. 2015-000622.  Doing so finalized a sharply divided ruling that could deprive at least 28 parish churches of their right to properties some have held for over 300 years.

Statement by the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis: 
“We are deeply disappointed the Court did not see fit to recuse Justice Hearn.  Her personal interest in the outcome of this litigation, beyond the normal matters of law, has clearly influenced its outcome. That is unfortunate not only for the Diocese but for all the citizens of this State with concerns for a fair and impartial judiciary. We also find it disturbing that the weight of the Constitutional concerns raised was not given further opportunity to be addressed. Church property ownership in South Carolina is now gravely complicated.

Given the gravity of all these concerns, we will now give serious consideration to seeking review by the U.S. Supreme Court. We believe the number and character of the issues at stake in this ruling merit review by the high court. Because of the long road of litigation that has brought us to this day, all the parties to this case will need to take counsel together before deciding our next steps.

We remain confident that God is at work in even these circumstances to redeem and use them, as He does all things, for His glory and the building up of His Church.”

More here-

Greggs’ portrayal of Jesus as a sausage roll echoes the Gospel of John, says biblical studies expert

From RNS-

With more than 1,000 outlets across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, Greggs, the baker, is a national institution. It’s not uncommon for queues to form in some towns and cities as the daily doughnuts, cheese and onion pasties and steak bakes come out of the ovens. But it is the sausage roll that is the star turn.

Now though, it seems it is the star that Greggs took too far. For Britain’s biggest bakery has had to apologize after it replaced the traditional baby Jesus in the manger with its famed product in a nativity scene. The image was used to promote its Advent calendar and, the company says, wasn’t meant to cause offense.

Well, regardless of intentions, the image, with three wise men reverently surrounding a golden sausage roll in a manger, caused quite an uproar.

More here-

Methodist Church appoints first transgender minister

From The Telegraph-

A university chaplain has become the Methodist Church's first transgender minister after hiding her true identity for more than four decades.

Joy Everingham, 46, spent years secretly applying lipstick and wearing women's clothes before finally coming out three yea

She first announced that she planned to transition while training to become a minister, before becoming ordained last summer.

rs ago.

It is the first time a transgender person has been appointed as a minister in the church with the church's knowledge.

More here-

The unbearable hypocrisy of Roy Moore's Christian rhetoric

From NBC-

A disturbing pattern has emerged since the Washington Post first reported that four women accused Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of offenses ranging from the creepy to the criminal. People in Gadsden, Alabama, where Moore worked in the District Attorney’s office three decades ago, say it was “common knowledge” that Moore pursued teenagers when he was in his 30s. Locals told the New Yorker that they recall being told than the local mall banned Moore for the same reason.

Accusations of criminal assault are difficult to prove in court and the statute of limitations in these cases has since passed. But Republicans outside of Alabama have started to back away from Moore following the allegations; They have chosen to believe the accusers.

More here-